Jan had the now familiar mournful expression on her features as she arduously removed her nail varnish, wiping away the last resemblance of colour looking like she was about to cry. The removal-of-the-varnish was now becoming a weekly routine. As it turned out, trainee Healers were not permitted to wear nail varnish. For the first week of her training Jan had religiously reapplied her nail varnish at the end of each day, before removing it again over breakfast... but after the flat had finally been ready to move into and the excessive packing and unpacking of boxes became the definition of free time she let it slip – now choosing to only reapply the colour when she arrived back at the flat on Friday and removing it on Sunday night.
Seeing Jan’s long, thin fingers without nail varnish made them seem slightly naked. Although it was rare for Jan’s nail varnish to actually be well kept – usually it was all chipped and... bitty – it was even rarer to see them nail coloured.
“You know,” I began, watching her, “considering you’re not going to be well enough to go into work tomorrow, this all seems a little pointless.”
“Shut up,” Jan said her voice thick with her cold, “I’m not taking a day off training in the first month.”
“Then you should really take the pepper up potion.” I pointed out, pushing myself off the sofa and heading towards the kitchen part of the main room of our flat (every time I thought of the phrase our flat it sent a rush of something funky to my head) to get a butter beer from the fridge.
“Just because,” Jan said, pausing to cough into her arm, “you’re a great big woman who can’t hand a,” Jan sneezed, “little cold, doesn’t mean I’m going to succumb to you levels of wuss.”
“Jan,” I returned seriously, looking at her feeling amused, “you just hate taking potions.”
“It’s unnecessary.” Jan muttered glumly, grabbing another tissue from the box and holding up to her nose. “I just need some sleep.”
“Go sleep then, you ridiculous woman.” I said, sitting back down on the sofa and feeling Jan fold herself against my arm, hoisting up the horrific pink throw (flat warming present from James, stupid git) to cover the bare skin on her shoulder.
“What are you going to do?” Jan muttered into my arm, pulling herself away to cough excessively (and bloody loudly, mind) into said throw. Personally, I hoped it got infected with some mutant disease and had to be destroyed as quickly as possible. Jan had deemed it polite to keep it around. Why, incidentally, being polite to James suddenly featured on the agenda I wasn’t entirely sure.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked, watching as her face turned an interesting shade of pink. I’d suffered from the same cold last week. According to Jan, who’d started saying a lot about medical things that I was clueless about, the fact that I’d entered an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar bugs was probably the reason why we’d both been getting ill so often – personally, I thought it had something to do with our dismal attempts at looking after ourselves.
Cooking. Cleaning. Washing shit up.
Actually, I was gradually becoming more surprised and sympathetic towards James. Surprised because he was actually still alive, given I was almost entirely convinced James had never touched a washing up potion in his life (other than to pour down the toilet and await for someone to piss in it) and sympathetic to the horrific state his flat had been in.
“Well,” Jan said, throwing a tissue in the direction of the bin, “you could try and wash the shower or hand the sheets up on the airer, cause Mum says they feel better if you don’t dry them by magic but -”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Come sleep with me?” Jan suggested. “Not in a sex way,” She added, blowing her nose rather sexily and looking irritated when it seemed her nose was producing enough mucus to require a second take, “the novelty of us living together hasn’t worn off yet.”
“Bloody good,” I said, “because if it had after two weeks then, damn Jan, we’re in trouble. We’d have to speed everything up tenfold and then –“
“ - get married next Saturday,” Jan finished, “I know, tosser, I just think its nice. Finally having our own space.”
“Basically, you want me to come cuddle and try and ignore all the snot.”
“Oi,” Jan said, her face scrunching up into an adorable line of indignation, “last week, when you were pathetically moaning in bed about your man flu whining about how you’d never felt so ill, drinking Pepper up potions like they were water I made you soup.”
“And you repaid me by giving me the damn cold.”
“So the least you can do, Albus Potter, is let me sleep on you.”
“And snot on me?”
“For better for worse.”
“I don’t think that’s what that line means,” I grinned, “anyway, Jan, again with the jumping ahead thing – we are distinctly not married,” Jan grinned, resting her head on my shoulder and closing her eyes for a second, “course I’ll come snuggle with you, you miserable wretch.”
“My hero,” Jan returned, “love you, shit head.”
“You’re just trying to get me into bed.” I countered, wrapping an arm around her to the point where my arm was actually touching that blasted pink throw and letting my eyes close for a second. It was exhausting, this grown up lark. Although Jan’s only complaint with her job was the whole forbidden nail-varnish thing, my list of Auror work was growing daily – it was cripplingly tiring and then to come home and have to cook for myself to actually eat...
It made me miss Hogwarts.
The only thing better about this situation was the amount of Jan, which was considerably more now we were sharing a sodding flat.
In the end, I had to half carry Jan to bed and drop her on top of our questionable double bed none too delicately. Jan called me something her mother wouldn’t like in response, crawled under the covers and looked just about ready to pass out.
“Not changing into your pyjamas?”
“Pyjamas are mainstream,” Jan muttered, “hurry up and get over here.”
“I’m going to go brush my teeth.” I said, offering Jan a tentative kiss on the cheek before disappearing out the room.
Of course, that was the exact time the phone rang. It had been James’s idea to place the landline phone on the bedside table – rather ominously stating that he’d be able to get hold of us whatever the time of day. Jan let out a beautiful stream of swearwords, stretched over to the phone and snatching it off the hook.
“Mmhhm.” Jan croaked down the phone. “Yeah... uhuh. I see why that might be an issue. Well... I’ll ask.” She pressed the phone to her neck, pressed the tissue back to her nose, and then turned to me. “James wants to know if you can go out.”
“James wants to know if you can go out.”
“Yes, I did hear. I just don’t understand why he’s asking you.”
Jan titled the phone back upwards so James could hear. “I think he’s trying to be funny but -” Her snipe at James was cut short as she had to cough loudly into her screwed up tissue and subsequently sniff, and take a deep breath before she was able to speak again. “Yes, he can go out James.”
“No, don’t say that!” I complained. “Tell him you won’t let me.”
“Because I’m too tired to go out,” I whined. Auror training was a right bitch and with all this nursing I was doing for Jan (okay... my failed attempts at nursing) was really wearing me out. “And James would take the piss.”
“So it’s better for him to believe that your woman controls you?”
“At least I’ve bloody got a woman.”
“I can hear you.” James’s voice came blaring through the telephone.
“Pass it over.” I said, reaching out for the phone.
“I have a headache; I really do not need you yelling.” I tried to grab it out her hand. She rolled over in bed, pulling the telephone cord with her, and began making vague noises of consent down the phone. “No, James...no. I don’t think so.... he’s tired... yes, I am also tried... Bloody hell no.... I am not coming to the pub with you... no... fine...” Then she hung up and turned to me. “He’ll be here in ten minutes.” There was a loud crack. “Or not,” Jan finished, slumping back onto the bedcovers and bringing a hand up to her head. “Just make him be quiet.”
“Hellloooo love birds!” James bellowed, throwing open the bedroom door (you’d have thought he’d have known better by now) and smiling manically. “Had a good week in the love nest?”
“I’ve spent most of the week lying in bed groaning.” Jan said, reaching for another tissue and pulling the covers up over her chest.
“Oh Al,” James grinned. “You could have just let her sleep you sex-fiend – she’s ill!”
Jan threw a (clean) tissue in James’s direction and pulled herself upwards in bed. “Don’t even talk to me about sex right now.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t take you out Al. With Jan out of action for the past week I might not be able to restrain you.”
“Hey, Al was the man down last week,” Jan said. James grinned at this like a mad lunatic.
“Am I the only one finding this conversation weird?”
“You shouldn’t be so closed off,” James smirked. “Any time you need any advice or...” The tissue box promptly bounced of James potter’s head. I grinned at Jan. “Point is, you’re coming to the pub with me.”
“Why?” I whined.
“Because we don’t live in the same house anymore and I’ve only seen you twice since you moved in with Janikins.”
“Call me Janikins and I’ll put you in St Mungos.” Jan muttered. “Pass me the potion, Al.”
“I thought you weren’t going to take any potions, Janet?” I said seriously, raising my eyebrows slightly. She pursed her lips.
“It won’t kill me, I suppose. I wasn’t expecting visitors.”
“We’ll wait half an hour,” James said, after I’d summoned the potion from the other room with a flick of my wand, “then you’ll be all peppered up and ready to partay.”
“This is the only thing I’ll be downing tonight.” Jan said, raising the potion vile in a mock-toast.
“At least you still have prospects,” James said, patting my shoulder, “as fun as this shit is, let’s hit the leaky Cauldron.”
“Urgh, you’re so classy.” I complained, pulling my jacket off the end of the bed and slipping it on.
“But Dad bloody turned up once and you were utterly shitfaced.”
“He found it funny.”
“No James, he didn’t. Especially when you tried to hit on the minister of magic.”
“I would have hit on her when sober, anyway,” James said throwing this aside with a wave of his hand. “And you were the one who threw up on his shoes.”
“You made that up! It never happened!”
“Oh just leave,” Jan said. “I’ll sleep better when you’re not sighing whenever I cough too loudly, anyway.” I had tried very hard to be sympathetic. Especially since the reason she was ill was because she insisted on nursing me back to health when I’d got this ridiculous flu. Then she’d caught it off me and all I’d done to help was suggesting Fire Whiskey might make her throat feel better. I was a bad person.
I also brought her some Molly-Weasley (grandmother, not cousin) amazing soup, went to her parent’s house and picked up her hot water bottle and called into St Mungos to explain (they’d owled me more potion which was very useful, even though Jan had refused to take most of them). So I suppose I wasn’t doing too badly.
“Hot water bottle.” I said, reheating the water with my wand and pushing it in her direction.
“I’ll pretend it’s you.” She said hugging it to her chest with a grin.
“Just don’t be too disappointed when I come back then.” I said bending forward and kissed her cheek. She closed her eyes and made a ‘mmmfgh’ kind of noise which I decided not to interpret. Her face was all puffed up, her nose a spectacular shade of red and her eyes rimmed with her blatant lack of sleep. She was smiling though. I looked at her fondly for one last moment before gently closing the door behind me.
“We’re flooing,” I said decisively, “it’s quieter.”
James went first and by the time I was there he was already attempting to chat up Hannah and had two beers in his hand. I rolled my eyes and took a seat at one of the tables near the bar – no doubt James would be up there often enough, might as well make the walk a short one. “Question,” James said, setting the beer in front of me. “How can you stand to kiss Jan?” I stared at him for a moment. “Oh, don’t get me wrong – she normally is on the right side of mother fudging hot – and a great snogger too, but when she’s all snot-ed up and sounding like a forty year old chain smoker how can you still be attracted to her? Because that girl has had sexier moments, let me tell you.”
“You are such a tosser.” I said incredulously.
“Am I?” James said. “I’m not saying how do you still like her, I’m saying how do you still look at her like you want to tear her pyjamas off and rub vapour rub onto her chest like a hormone driven teenager.”
“You have such a way with words.” I said sardonically. “And because it’s Jan. Influenza isn’t going to keep me away. If she was drowning in her own snot I’d still dive in to save her.”
“And you say I have a way with words?” James asked, downing half his beer in one go before setting the glass on the table. I did the same. “You do realise Jan is a better swimmer than you.”
“I’m being metaphorical you fuckwit.”
“Don’t become a poet,” James advised, “Freddie and Ted are meeting us in a bit. In the meantime, I have an idea for a game.”
“Why don’t I like the sound of this?”
“Shots, Hannah!” James declared loudly. “Lots of shots!” Dear Merlin. “Right, the name of the game is... what I would do.”
“Sounds like a sleepover game for fourteen year old girls.”
“I’m working on the name. No need to be so negative. Right, I suggest a scenario. If you would do it, you take a shot. Right,” James said with a grin – winking at Hannah as she set down the tray of shot glasses. I counted. Six. Three each. That wasn’t too bad. “I’m not playing, by the way,” Maybe not then. “These scenarios are all going to be based on how far you would go in the name of love of Janet Harper.”
“Sod off, James.” I said, taking a shot and scrunching my face up in the face of the alcohol.
This was going to be a long night.
“Ahha,” Teddy said, sitting down at our table and grinning at me as I drank yet another shot. I was multi-tasking by building a tower out of empty shot glasses: see, I could be a woman. James raised an eyebrow. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud. “What I would do – classic James. He made me play it when Vic and I were engaged.”
“But why are you making me play?” I demanded, banging my fist on the table to make my point and sending the mighty tower of empty shot glasses toppling over. Several people turned round and stared.
“Cause you’ve moved in with Jan,” James said, “you’re all serious and stuff!” He was on his fifth beer and third shot, and I’d lost the ability to count how many drinks I’d had. Counting was for muggles anyway. Or calculators. Or those people who took arithmancy. Or who worked in shops and had to give change to people.
Actually, when you think about it, counting is quite important.
“Next thing you’ll be getting married and having kids and then I won’t have a brother anymore.”
“Hannah,” Teddy said, glancing between the two of us with a raised eyebrow. “I’ll have something strong, if you will. Oh, and we appear to be out of shots.”
“We’re not going to get bloody married yet. We’ve only just finished Hogwarts.”
“See, you said yet.”
“Hello, Freddie,” Teddy said warmly. “Lovers spat, I believe. Fire whiskey?”
“Well,” I said. Hannah sat down another tray of shots. James took two in quick succession. Freddie grabbed one off the tray. Teddy stuck to his ‘something strong’ which was still smoking and smelt strangely of karvol (and thus our flat). “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
“I thought when you finished Hogwarts I’d see more of you again.” James said, taking another shot.
“Too many shots,” I said, taking another, “aren’t healthy James.”
“Say shots again,” Teddy instructed, grinning as he took another sip of his something strong, “it’s ridiculous. Didn’t know anyone could slur that much.”
“Don’t,” Freddie advised, exchanging a glance with Teddy, “drink up, you two.”
“You know,” James said, taking a sip out of Teddy’s drink, “I was going to say that, well… if you wanted to move out of Mum and Dad’s you could move in with me.”
“What?” I asked.
“I got two bedrooms, you should know as my favourite cleaner.” James grinned, patting me on the back a little too enthusiastically and sending me falling into the table in front slightly. My head was swimming. God, too many drinks.
“Live with you?”
“God, Al, no need to be such a bastard.” James said, with a mock expression of hurt.
“Yeah, Al,” Fred said, “James here is making a nice drunken offer and you’re just -”
“Eh, up,” Teddy said, “it seems like a collection of our more senior relatives have also decided to hit the pub today.”
“Al, finish the shots and we’ll hit the Three Hags before they’ve noticed us. Don’t let them see you,” he added as an extra note, “you’re exceedingly shitfaced.”
“Thanks for the advice mate.” I said, pushing one of the shots to Freddie and Teddy. James grabbed me roughly by the shoulder and pushed me towards the fire, giving an extravagant wave to Hannah (which I’m entirely sure Dad must have seen out of the corner of his eyes, given the glasses rendered him not blind), before stepping into the fire and somehow managing to articulately say ‘The Three Hags.’
One of these days, drunken magical transportation was going to kill him.
When James was drunk, he occasionally thought it would be a great idea for him to take up smoking. Unfortunately, James was also an absolute drunken arse and wasn’t very good at drunkenly smoking: This desire usually only lasted ten minutes before James burnt his fingers/face on the wrong side of the cigarette and cursed dramatically about lung cancer to anyone in the vicinity who’d also decided to have a smoke. He threw a lit fag at my face once. I maintain that I could have died.
When James was drunk enough to start putting out lit cigarettes by practically eating them (never pretty, especially not in the morning), he was also liable to start getting a tad emotional.
Currently, he was rambling on about how he was sorry about being a terrible brother and that he could understand why I’d never want to live with him, but about how I was his best friend or something equally ridiculous and not true.
“James,” I said reasonably. “We could never have lived together – you couldn’t stand the lack of privacy, ergo not being able to bring girls back at any time of the day.”
“Hey, be fair – you and Jan would have been like… at it like Nifflers every other day too… we could have a rota and… and it would have been great so -”
“James,” I said, clutching my head slightly and staring at him, “I appreciate the sentiment, but… terrible idea. And the rota thing – that’s just, I mean, plain disturbing, mate.”
“You called me your mate,” James said, knocking a cigarette out of Teddy’s hand with an erratic arm movement (probably for the best; despite being able to change his appearance at will, Vic always seemed to be able to tell whenever he’d so much as thought about smoking), “I love you man, you’re the best brother, matey person ever.”
“Love you too, mate.” I said, squashed under James arm as he hugged me like I was dying or something. I pattered him on the back. He did the same. I suppose I had missed James. He was my brother. My crazy annoying demanding always selfish brother of mine, who nevertheless got me and Jan together and did – in his twisted messed up demanding annoying selfish way had my best interests at heart. “You can come over for dinner sometime.”
Jan was going to kill me for that tomorrow.
To hell with Jan’s complaints about him – James was practically my best friend. The only other real candidate was Rose and I’d barely seen her since her romantic escape with Scorpius, although what they had to escape from Lord only knows.
“The gay bar’s next door,” Someone said, and James released me – turning smoothly on the floor and (hey, his glass was now empty... had he... had he just tipped that down my back?) and grinning at the girl.
“Oh no,” James said. “We’re brothers.”
“They do look kind of similar.” The girl’s friend said with a smile.
“Not just any brothers,” James continued, casually leaning on the rail with all the blasé coolness of a Don. He had that nailed. My brother was a legend. “Do you know who we are?” James asked, ruffling his hair up casually.
“Do tell.” The first girl, the blonde, said looking distinctly unimpressed.
“I’m James Potter.” He said, poking himself in the chest (and wincing when it apparently hurt) and grinning impressively. “And this, is Albus Potter.”
“Really?” She asked – blatantly not believing us.
“Harry Potter is our Dad.” James continued.
“You know, the one who killed Voldermort,” I answered. “The chosen one.”
“And you, my dear,” James said leaning closer to the blonde who still looked unimpressed. “Could be my chosen one, tonight.” She raised an eyebrow disdainfully. “I’m a famous Quidditch player, you know.”
“Right,” She said with an eye roll. “And I’m Luna Lovegood.”
“No you’re not,” James said with a grin, “Because Luna’s our sister’s godmother.”
“So what do you do?” Her friend asked me, a slightly less disbelieving expression on her face.
“Training to be an Auror like his father,” James said slapping me on the back with a grin. “Started a couple of weeks ago. Al here’s only a baby.”
“You’re not James Potter,” The blonde said. “Come on, Courtney, let’s go.” Her friend seemed reluctant.
“Damn,” James said, “why does that never work?”
For some reason, James decided that despite the fact that I could barely walk it would be a wonderful idea to buy me another drink. Well, I had a feeling that he’d pulled a handful of galleons out of my wallet when I hadn’t been looking to pay for the drinks, given he’d kindly offered to pay for a group of girls drinks too – and, as much as James liked girls, he wasn’t that generous.
Then Freddie suddenly appeared. “We need to get out of here!” He declared loudly – kindly finishing off mine, James’s and the two of the girls drinks in one clean swoop. They looked a bit offended.
“What? I thought you hit it off with some girl.”
“She was a bloody vampire, wasn’t she James?” Freddie said. “She tried to bite me. Look, let’s get out – Al...” He pulled James’s shirt.
“Sorry Ladies,” James said, acting like he was bloody self-conscious when Fred ripped the top button off his shirt.
“Don’t call people ladies, James, it’s really sleazy and weird and – ”
“A Vampire!” Freddie said. “Is no one listening?”
“Where the fuck is Ted?” James asked – seemingly he’d sobered up somewhat. He was walking straight at any rate, which was strange... because not too long ago I’d seen him take a vile of purple liquid out of his bag and downed it in one. If there was one thing I’d learnt about wizard alcohol – never trust the purple stuff.
He was outside again, cigarette in hand. “No time Ted,” James said knocking it out of his hand and stamping on it enthusiastically. “There’s a pissed off Vampire looking for Freddie,” Then he grabbed Ted’s arm, and Freddie’s arm – and apparated away leaving me stood alone in the courtyard of the Three Hags.
Then it started to rain.
“Well,” James said after a few more drinks, “I came back for you didn’t I?” He said wildly.
“Took you forty fucking minutes.”
“Your times off,” James said off handily. “Al, you do realise the fag you’re trying to smoke isn’t lit, right?” I swore at him, dropped said fag, and marched back inside. I brought another drink. Freddie was talking to some other chick... well, not exactly talking – he had some grind thing going on in the centre of the dance floor. Emily was going to be pissed if she ever found out. I was tempted to phone her and tell her... just because it would add more amusement into the jam packed night but... who was I to grass people up to their girlfriends.
“Just think!” James said, appearing beside me. Shouldn’t he be trying to get laid or something? Fucking tosser. “Your stag do is going to be exactly like this!”
“Shut up before I punch you James,”
“Angry-drunk-Al,” James said appreciatively. “Sexually frustrated?”
“Just pissed off,” I corrected. “Go chat up some blonde or something,”
“Jealous?” James suggested, clapping a hand on my shoulder and ordering me another drink. He might as well just order me a liver failure and have done with it: the end result was going to be the same. Then, he grinned and said, “Let’s talk Al: brother to brother.”
“Bugger, bugger, bugger,” I muttered, stumbling my way through the main room in the direction of our bedroom whilst trying to be quite and subtle and very much not loud. I made a detour to the bathroom to piss, before continuing the journey to the bedroom.
“Shut up, shut up, shut up,” I said as I tried to kick my trousers off my feet as quietly as possible. They finally came off. I threw my jacket the wardrobe before subtlety stepping over the creaky floorboard and sending myself flying forwards onto the floor. I swore. Loudly.
“I’m awake Al, its fine,” Jan said sitting up slightly. “Fuck, it’s four in the morning. What did James do to you?”
“Bloody arsewipe,” I said. “Shots,” Then I crawled into bed and faced Jan with a smile. “And then Freddie pissed off this vampire and... and then this Hag tried to take a picture of James and then... Ted forgot how to turn his nose back and...”
“Well,” Jan said, wrapping her arms around me. “I’m glad you had a nice night.”
“Yeah,” I said, my mind still on something James said about being with Jan for the rest of my life or something. It didn’t sound so bad to me. I turned over so my back was towards her, but her arms were still wrapped around my midriff – I had become the hot water bottle’s replacement, it seemed.
“Al,” Jan said when I was a few seconds from the blissful oblivion of sleep. “Why is there a phone number written on the back of your neck in eyeliner?”
My cosy warmth of comfortableness was suddenly stripped away from me and I was very very cold. “On a scale of one to ten,” Jan said, her voice very piercing and painful but also relatively nice sounding floating above me like some sort of crazed ghost. “How much are you still drunk.” I reached up and touched my nose. Nope. Couldn’t feel it.
“Seven,” I mumbled into the pillow. “Let me sleep.”
“Did you mean to go to sleep half naked?”
“What? Hmm.” I muttered sitting up and taking in the fact that I was wearing a shirt and a pair of socks. And that was it. “Accident.” I decided before sinking back into the pillows.
“Sobering solution,” Jan said, sitting on the edge of the bed and pressing it into my hands. Sobering solution was nasty stuff. Sure, you were sober in an instant – but your hangover got a couple of billion times worse. I grimaced at her. “You’ll want it in a minute,” She said. I considered it for a second before taking the flask – it was a purplish liquid, lilac almost, actually...
Wait a second...
“James... James had a sobering solution halfway through last night!” I declared blearily. “James... James was sober? Oh shit. Jan, he’s gotta be planning something... or... he made up some stupid drinking game for me and... Freddie and Ted... fuck Jan, he’s going to blackmail me or destroy me or...”
“James was sober?” Jan asked with an eyebrow raised. She looked worried for a second. Then she pulled out a piece of parchment from her pocket: a tiny scrap of paper that looked like it had been ripped off the corner of a legal document with James’s familiar writing scrawled across it: “Help me.”
I was so screwed.
“Okay,” I said, heaping a spoonful of sugar into my coffee, “you’re saying you want me to…steal some poor woman’s hair so you can do a sodding DNA test because you may or may not have impregnated her? Jan, help me out here, that’s beyond usual levels of the ridiculous isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Jan said irritably, before ruining her slightly sour expression by sneezing. She picked up a tissue rather dramatically, blew her nose and threw away said tissue with the distinct air of someone who was very irritated.
I was too hung over to appreciate it properly.
“I’m going into work,” Jan said, taking my coffee and downing half of it before placing it back in front of me, glaring at my brother and heading towards the fire.
“She’s in a bad mood.” James said conversationally.
“She’s got the flu, you dragged me out clubbing and you’re now blackmailing me into stealing a DNA sample from someone I’ve never met – which bit was supposed to put her in a good mood?”
“My shining presence and charm,” James grinned, “it wasn’t easy, you know, remembering I needed to take the sobering solution and dealing with the hangover whilst you were all still drunk.”
“Well done.” I said dryly.
“Finally, a bit of appreciation.”
“What is the blackmail material?”
“Oh,” James said, “you didn’t do anything, don’t worry, just some things you were saying about Jan. It was all a bit dull, really, but you said quite a bit how very in love with you.”
“He says that all the time, to my face,” Jan said irritable, “if that’s your blackmail material James, then sod off. He’s not doing it,” then she turned to me, “apparently, I’m too ill to work – something about infecting the patients or something.”
“Jan,” James said, pouting slightly, “look, Jan, I really am desperate here – the woman’s a nut job.”
“Then why did you sleep with her?” Jan asked, folding her arms over her chest. “And impregnate her.”
“The point is, I don’t think I did – I just need proof. She… she bloody told me she was on the contraceptive potion thing. I thought she was lying so, well, I made sure that -”
“No details, thank you.”
“I took extra precautions,” James said, “so I really don’t think this is my baby. Okay. Please, Jan – I know I’m a pain in your arse but all you have to do is throw a dinner party and steal the woman’s hair or her saliva or something.”
“What’s your back up plan?” Jan asked.
“Threaten to tell Freddie’s chick that he got off with a vampire last night?”
“No, you prat,” Jan said, “if it’s your kid?”
“Buy a book entitled ‘how to raise your illegitimate child with a crazy person to ensure it’s not a Slytherin’ and its sequel ‘how to love your illegitimate child even though it’s a Slytherin’ and study thoroughly.”
“Fine,” Jan said, folding her arms stubbornly, “but you’re bloody cooking. I’m going back to bed.”
We watched as Jan stomped back into the bedroom, listened to the sound of her very loud coughing for a few seconds and then turned back to each other.
“The funny thing about the world illegitimate,” James said, tilting his head to one side slightly as he stood up and flicked on the kettle, “it makes it sound like the babies not real, but actually… it still cries and poops and shit.”
I stared at my brother for a few minutes, wincing as the sound of the kettle boiling began to assault my brain, and decided that he was actually the biggest idiot on the planet.
“I know adding the word shit implies that the thing craps twice,” James said, “but that was intended.”
Hey guys! Welcome to the penultimate chapter of SSTTAP (well, I suppose welcome isn't really right as this is the end of the chapter), but here we go! This was planned to be longer, but in the end it just didn't need to be any longer. So, one more chapter after this one and then they'll be a one chaptered spin-off about James (working title is The Extravagant Exuberances and Fabulous Forays of James Potter - subject to change) and then that will be the actual actual end! So, yeah, its SSTTAPmonth - not that you'd be able to tell given this is the first update - but I'm planning on having this whole thing finished by the end of the month. And, I know its a bit ambitious, but I'd love to get to 200 reviews on this story as a whole. So, thats the general plan for finishing this and, well, thanks for sticking with me thus far guys! :)
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